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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Ibeji, Children of Heaven

Ibeji, Children of Heaven

Twins inspire both fear and wonder in Yorubaland, where the rate of twin births is among the highest in the world. Twins are considered special children who can bring riches to their parents or misfortune to those who do not honor them. If a twin dies, a sculpture is carved to remember them in the prime of life-forward-facing, confident, and dignified.

Wood, pigment, beads, and nails
9 5/8 x 3 3/8 x 3 9/16 in. (24.5 x 8.5 x 9 cm)
Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryLos Angeles, California, Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery, University of California, African Art in Motion: Icon and Act, Jan. 20 - Mar. 17, 1974 (Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, May 5 - Sept. 22, 1974). Text by Robert Farris Thompson. No cat. no., p. 67, reproduced fig. A-1 (as "ibeji").

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke a Back, Feb. 7 - May 19, 2002 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Oct. 2, 2004 - Jan. 2, 2005; Hartford, Connecticut, Wadsworth Atheneum, Feb. 12 - June 19, 2005; Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Art Museum, Oct. 8, 2005 - Jan. 1, 2006; Nashville, Tennessee, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Jan. 27 - Apr. 30, 2006 [as African Art, African Voices: Long Steps Never Broke a Back]). Text by Pamela McClusky. No cat. no., pp. 26, 28-29, reproduced pl. 6 (as Commemorative twin figure (awon ere ibeji)).

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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